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That Old Silver Palate Standby: Chicken Marbella

I'm planning a Sunday Supper gathering for a bunch of us in a couple of weeks. Chicken Marbella will be the main dish. Any suggestions for a first course, sides, dessert? I love to cook, but I'm big on making things ahead (earlier in the day is fine) so I'm not too busy while guests are there.

Thanks so much.

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  1. Just made this for dinner last night, and served it with parmesan mashed potatoes and a fennel/kale stir fry, with sauteed shallots, fennel seeds, anise seeds, and lemon. For dessert it was lemon pudding cake with a rasberry sauce. It all worked well.

    I thought it useful to have something to contrast the sweetness of the chicken marbella, hence the bitter green of kale and the lemon pudding cake for dessert.

    Good luck.

    1. I make at least twice a year if not more, and this is what I always serve with it:

      I start with a green salad with a nice vinaigrette. I like to start this way because the upcoming dinner is so rich.

      With the chicken I serve Potatoes Daphnois (from Patricia Well’s A YEAR IN PROVENCE) and fresh green beans that I blanch, then toss in a skillet with olive oil and lemon juice, These three on the plate make a beautiful presentation and they go well together. And of course, lots of bread. I serve the extra juice in little ramekins next to the plate so everyone has plenty to dip into.

      For dessert, you can go simple, such as fruit and pecorino cheese sliced with a little honey drizzled on top. Or go the opposite with something like chocolate pots of crème.

      If you would like recipes, let me know.

      1. I've always wondered about the Chicken Marabella, is it worth the effort? Any good cooking tips?

        11 Replies
        1. re: Scagnetti

          There's very little effort in making it, you can make a large quantity in advanced and just bake before you need it. Plus, it can be served hot or cold. It's an easy go to dish when you don't want to be cooking while the guests arrive. I don't have tips for it because it's pretty fail-safe. You don't even have to be that precise in the amount of what you use, or what you use.

          1. re: Scagnetti

            It's really very easy. Just make a lot -- the leftovers are great too!

            1. re: valerie

              I agree with Valerie. It is ridiculously easy, particulary given how fancy it looks when finished/presented. And it tastes amazing the next few days afterwards as well.

            2. re: Scagnetti

              Definitely worth the effort--which, as others have mentioned, is minimal. Very tasty, and the leftovers are great.

              1. re: Scagnetti

                This dish is out of this world--everyone always raves about it. It's incredibly simple to prepare. The major prep (although you could hardly call it major) is done the day before you're going to serve it. I prefer to serve it hot, but room-temperature seconds never go begging. I always feel like I've cheated when I serve Chicken Marbella, because it is just so easy and it's received with such wild enthusiasm!

                I like to serve it with rice prepared with onions sautéed in butter, the rice sautéed briefly until coated with the onion/butter preparation, and then cooked until fluffy in a rich chicken stock. I also prepare fresh green beans to serve alongside--but I cut the raw green beans to 3" lengths, blanch a la Julia Child, chill, and stack like cordwood on a long narrow platter. I scatter home-roasted sweet red peppers along the top of the 'woodpile' and use homemade vinaigrette as the dressing. Serve cold. Rice, cold green beans, a good chewy baguette, and an oaky chardonnay--when's the party!

                Ahh but wait--dessert! How about Charlotte Malakoff? Heaven...

                1. re: cristina

                  Cristina:

                  I coudn't agree with you more about CM. A forever pal. Do you have a good recipe for Charlotte Malakoff?

                  1. re: onefineleo

                    I use one that's similar to this:
                    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...

                    The differences between this recipe and mine:
                    --I use almonds, not hazelnuts
                    --I use Kirsch, not hazelnut liqueur
                    --I use the strawberries only as a garnish on top of the charlotte
                    --I often garnish the charlotte with blanched, slivered almonds instead
                    of strawberries

                    Ooh, what a decadent dessert--and one with a lot of WOW factor. It's not common on the dessert table, so it's classic without being a cliché.

                2. re: Scagnetti

                  I find the Chicken Marbella to be nauseating, and I am horrified every time I show up for a dinner party and someone serves it. I have to say that I do not understand what is appealing about this dish. It is extremely sweet, and I detest sweet food. I like to save my sugar for dessert.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    I leave out the sugar that they call for sprinkling over the chicken, which helps a lot. DId it accidentally the first time, and thought the fruit made it sweet enough. I use dried apricots as well as prunes which adds color and a little tartness. And I'm probably extra generous with the capers & olives, so I don't think my version comes out as sweet as the original. But if you're just not a fan of fruit & meat, this dish will never work for you.

                    1. re: roxlet

                      Never use cilantro and only use about a tsp. of sugar to correct the balance of flavor... that might work for you if you are willing to try again.

                  2. How about roasted brussel sprouts, spaghetti squash casserole, crusty bread as sides?

                    1. This recipe looks wonderful. While doing an online search for the recipe, I came across this article from Sheila Lukins on a complete meal to go with it... See link:
                      http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/1...